LIFE cover March 3, 1947
Week of March 3,, 1947
Renaissance Man
Hi Lindy Hoppers!!!
Juxtaposing the Renaissance with Red Hunting
...and a lot of cheescake

Welcome to March 3,, 1947!

I was very fortunate to find a set of bound volumes of LIFE Magazine for the year 1947. Since 2004 is just beginning, I thought that it would be appropriate to meander through 1947 one week at a time to see how things have (and haven't) changed in 57 years. By the way -- the bound volumes came from the library of Bridgewater College (in Bridgewater, Virginia...) Can anyone tell us more about this august institution?

We would LOVE to hear from you if you have some observations,ccomments or direct personal experience with any of the subjects treated here. Contact us by clicking here.

Click here to see excerpts from other LIFE magazine issues during 1947

Thanks to Google Books, you can click here to read the entire March 3, 1947 issue of LIFE Magzine. You can look at some of the images that we refer to but cannot post due to copyright.

The Cover

The March 3, cover featured a Renaissance "re-enactor", a young man wearing a suit of armeor, rich in fabric and workmanship that illustrated LIFE's profile of the Renaissance as part of an ongoing series on the history of Western Culture. This perspective, called "Eurocentric" at the height of the PC nonsense of the 1990s was typical of mass media attempts at "high culture." The fellow on the cover was a participant in the Palio a combination street brawl and horse race that has been going on for nearly 500 years in Siena. The Palio was made famous in the United States of the 1950s by Herman Wouk's cheesy bestseller The Winds of War, and made even more famous in the 1980s by a cheesy made-for-TV miniseries.

Contestants in the Palio are neighborhood associations called contrade; there are 16 of them. The young man on the cover represents Contrade Selva as noted by the rhinocerous emblem on his left breast. Alas, Selva is more like the Chicago Cubs than the Yankees -- it won the Palio in 1919, 1953, 1965 but hit the jackpot in 2003. Click here to check the Palio statistics from 1900-2003.

The 14 page article on the renaissance did NOT focus on recognized "stars" like Leonardo DaVinci, Macchiavelli or the Borgias. Rather, it provided an in-depth look at the life of Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, who went from rags to riches, or more accurately from peasant to Pope. He was a patron of the arts, but his most recognized achievement was bringing Germany back into the Catholic fold after the Reformation, particularly his ability to maintain relations with the adventurous Frederick II of Austria. He ruled as Pius, remembering Vigil's line from the Aenead "I am the pious Aeneas". During the 20th century, his namesake descendant Pius XII was noted (and condemned by some) for his ability to maintain relations between the church and dictators like Hitler and Mussolini.

Given everything that was going on at the time, it was particularly apt to devote 14 pages to the life of someone who had calmed the waters of a troubled Germany... Perhaps this would set the stage for some "Good Pope" as well as "Good German" stories

Past is Prologue

"Red Hunting" was the subject of this week's Editorial and dealt with the efforts of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) to purge the Federal Government of employees with "Communist Sympathies", especially as the fear of Communism began to grow. This should resonate very well with those now concerned with rooting out "Al Quaeda Sympathizers" in post 9-11 America.

The first thing to note is that Red baiting did not start in full fury all at once. It was 1947 and a substantial number of Americans still had vivid memories of the "Red Scare" of the 1920s as an excuse for immigrant bashing; many remember the comedy of the 1930s when Congressman Martin Dies tried to paint little Shirley Temple as a red. We note that our approach to Al Quaeda got off to a slow start as well, since the internment of Japanese was more-or-less still fresh in our minds.

In March of 1947, LIFE was fairly moderate. The first question is "Should they be outlawed?", to which LIFE gave a resounding "Yes" -- in fact the Editors said exactly this: "It should surely be unneccesary at this late date to prove that the Communist party is wholly inimical to the US and its form of government". Alas, said LIFE, the Constitution got in the way of that solution. The solution seemed to be twofold: (1) Identify and "label" Communists; (2) Prosecute them for any crime that can be pinned on them, even the most trivial. Thus, began the Horror of the 1950s --- it was simple enough: The HUAC would "expose" communists but not try them for anything. The market place would then take care of the Commies -- if they couldn't work then they couldn't eat and maybe they would go back to Moscow.

And that was what happened. HUAC gained tremendous power because they actually had the power of life and death over anyone that they might seek to "Label." The Blacklist and the smear slowly became the weapon of choice for anyone who wanted to settle a grudge. Have Labor Problems? Call the union "Commies"! Have a professional grudge? Call your competition Commies! Did your neighbor's dog poop on your lawn? Call him a Commie! This nonsense lasted well into the 1960s

Many of our manufacturing jobs have been exported to foreign dictatorships. All of a sudden, a WHOLE LOT of people are employed in "Homeland Security." How long do YOU think that the Terrorism Scare will go on? How long will YOU remember the American Concentration Camps for the Japanese? (If you have forgotten them, all you have to do is take a look back to the January 20 Issue, right on the cover!)

You may be wondering why there aren't unions to protect these jobs than have gone overseas (one of them might just be yours...) You need turn no further than the eight page panegyric to senator Joseph H. Ball of Minnesota. What, you haven't heard of him? He gets eight pages and the whole Renaissance gets 14 pages? Well, the stage has actually been set back in the January 13 where he is shown "conferring" with new Senate majority leader Taft (remember, the focus of that issue is the Republican takeover of Congress). Next, he is shown in a full page photo in the February 3 with the caption, "WORKING ON LABOR CURBS: Senator Joseph H. Ball of Minnesota has become the Number 1 legislator of unions. He has drawn up bills to prohibit unions from industry-wide bargaining, organization of foremen, jurisdictional strikes, and secondary boycotts."

This week, Senator Ball gets almost as much coverage as Pope Pius I.

Ball began his career, like so many ambitious men, as a firebrand of the left. He flirted with socialism, tried to organize the newspaper where he worked, slavishly served the New Deal, and although a Republican, supported FDR in 1944. In short, he was what I call a "Zeitgeisterscheister", or a fellow who blows right along with the wind. And the in the postwar Republican revival, the wind was blowing from the Right.

He grew up poor and made his college tuition by raising corn. He and his wife passed their adulthood in semi-starvation as he tried to survive on a reporter's salary. They took in boarders. As soon as he was able to live on his salary, management cut it (it was the depression...) He organized a Newspaper Guild and flireted with Socialism. He supported Leftist Governor Floyd Olson, but says he became disillusioned when "Commies" wormed their way into government. He established a reputation as a thorough and honest journalist and was appointed to the senate in 1940 to fill a vacancy caused by the death of sen. Ernest Lundeen. Ball was appointed by perennial candidate and quack, Harold Stassen. later, he threw over Stassen for FDR. And now that FDR is gone, he is back with the regular Republicans. He sees his fight against the Unions as a search for the freedom of the Individual over the Collective. Bla Bla Bla.

Senator Ball went on to author the infamous Taft-Hartley Act. He lasted only another 9 months -- he was easily defeated by Hubert H. Humphrey who was a senator for a long time, Lyndon Johnson's Vice President and unsuccessful presidential candidate in 1968. Senator Ball is largely unremembered -- there are no Google hits for him!

Pay close attention to two articles (below) that may seem trivial --one about the MGM Lion and another about a society wedding ... you will find more meaning hidden in them than you expect.

The World

In Great Britain, the coal crisis had men, women and children out in the bitter cold trying to glean enough fuel to keep their houses warm from a coal outcropping in a public park, transporting it home in sacks, baby buggies or on bicycles. The suffering Brits were ready to pull back their armed forces from around the world, leaving it up to Good Old Uncle Sam to foot the bill. ...and we still are!

Meanwhile, back in Germany, we have a "Good German" story as opposed to the "Bad Nazi" stories. In this case, an organization called "The Eyewitness" was founded to reunite German families who had been scattered by the war. The organization convinced an enterprising newsreel photographer to make a film of a charming little girl had lost her family. The Dad saw the newsreel and the family was reunited. Wasn't that charming? These people couldn't all be bad, especially now that we needed them to keep the Russians at bay after the Brits bailed out...

With the Brits out of the equation, the final postwar world began to take shape. This week, several treaties were signed that "adjusted" borders based on World war II. The results reflected the fact that the Russians had a whole lot of men and tanks in Eastern Europe. The Russian T-34 tanks could destroy the German Panzers as if they were made of cardboard; however, the Panzers could make Swiss cheese out of the American Sherman tanks. By process of logic, there wasn't a whole lot that the US could do about the border situation.

The principal change in the postwar map was that Germany shrank. All of its lands in East Prussia were taken as well as a large slice of its Eastern flank and put into the postwar Poland; the Russians, however kept a very large chunk of the pre-WWII Poland that they took in 1939. The Russians were intent on making a weakened Germany that would never threaten them, while leaving open the possiblity that they mught use Germany as an invasion route to threaten others.

While the Russians were about it, they gobbled up Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. (Historically, these three countries had oscillated between independence and subservience to Russia, so this was more of a "cycle" than a radical change.) The Sovites also punished Finland who had fought two separate wars against Russia. The first, in 1938 had embarassed the Russians. When Finland allied itself with Germany in 1942, it outraged the Russians. They removed enough strategic territory that Finland would never be a threat ever again. By the way, plucky little Finland was the only country to pay its debts from both WWI and WWII

The Balkans were adjusted sliver by sliver. Transylvania was given back to Romania, but Bessarabia (with oil...) was taken by the Soviet Union.

Italy paid a price for being part of the Axis: On the East, a large slice of territory called Venezia Giulia was given to Yugoslavia, in the Soviet Orbit. The best that the US and Britain could do was to keep Trieste an independent city. On the West, France claimed several key mountain locations that improved its security and gave it tremendous potential for building hydroelectric dams.

Look for more "Good German" stories in the next few weeks...

The Domestic Front

Mr. Edwin H. Land of the Polaroid Company demonstrated an amazing photographic process with a new kind of camera that carries its own chmicals, pressing them against photo paper to make a contact print in less than a minute. LIFE remarked, "Land, who discovered light-polarizing plastics when he was 21 hopes to get this camera into production soon so that anyone can make one-minute pictures."

(We believe that it was less than one minute before someone used Mr. Land's creation to make photos of erotic content).

Now, 57 years later, Polaroid is on its way to obsolescence as digital cameras move to the forefront. Probably the only thing saving the company is that Polaroid photos can only be made one at a time and they cannot be put on the internet...

This was a bad week for Rail travel -- the Pennsylvania railroad's Red Arrow plunged off a curve near the famous "Horshoe Curve" near Altoona, Pa. 22 people died. In fact, in the previous four weeks there had been 21 train wrecks in which 247 cars went off the tracks. In fact, the railroads were dying. Maintenance was skipped and capital equipment was thoroughly worn out. Everyone knew the railroads were dying except the public, who some 23 years later would get stuck with the bill in the form of Amtrak. This was the start of it

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the O'Connor Electro-Plating Company blew up, leveling an entire block, killing 15 people, and injuring 158. The cause was laid to an employee who "goofed" while mixing perchloric acid. It would be nearly 30 years until rudimentary job safety legislation, in the form of OHSA was passed.

On the Lighter Side

Jackie the current MGM lion was profiled in a "tongue-in-cheek" parody of Hollywood labor problems, which were at the point of boiling over. Jackie had the distinction of being the first lion to perform in Technicolor, due to his amply luxurious coat; his voice had special tones in the lower register that appealed to the public. The first of the line was Leo, the emblem of MGM in the early 1930s who only performed for black and white cameras.

Leo the MGM Lion
Leo the MGM Lion
With his keeper Volney Phifer, in 1931
Ars Gratia Artis


Jackie was 8 feet long, 38 inches high, weighed about 500 pounds and was paid $1,000 per week. At the time of the article, he was 19 years old, far ahead of the normal 12-14 yr life span of the lion. His parents were also in show-biz, having appeared in several wild animal pictures and circus troupes; he had never been ouside California. Alas, even in his dotage, Jackie Cannot look forward to social security because he is under 21; conversely, he is not protected by the child labor laws either. Jackie was identified as a victim of capitalist exploitation in that his managers collected his entire pay, or in the words of Karl Marx, "extorted 100% of his surplus value" or, in the words of the Union, Jackies "straight time, overtime, portal-to-portal take home pay was zero. He also faced social discrimination -- he was prevented from dining at fashionable restaurants and from living in Beverly Hills. Alas, the Screen Actors Guild was reluctant to aid their embattled colleague -- he held no union card. A final ignomy -- male lions are neutered to improve their temperment. Poor Jackie would not know the joys and rewards of a mate.

The Spring Suits were out in the stores. The skirts were long and the hips were padded, a sea change from the more severe fashions of the War when cloth was rationed. This year, women were wearing tailored "Suit Blouses" that were long and tailored, often fastening at the side with a zipper. When the jacket is removed, this gives the appearance that adress is being worn. Shoes had a closed toe and back with a sturdy leather walking heel. Scarves took the place of a necktie and were fastened with "suitpins" that looked suspiciously like the stickpins worn by me some 40 years earlier. hats were small in shape and were decorated with bows and trimmings in the rear.

The lovely Barbara Ann Scott, then an 18 year old from Canada won the World Figure Skating Championship in Stockholm. LIFE wasted no time in printing cheesecake photos of Ms. Scott and other lovelies. The trouble is that in 1947, skating tights looked a lot more like long-johns than stockings. In the men's division, American Dick Button (then 17) was the crowd favorite, but the judges voted the title to a Swede. Dick Button is famous now as the quadrennial figure skating announcer for the Olympics. He has certainly been around a long time!

It was a slow news day in Boston. A reporter with little to do found that Engine Company 37 in Roxbury had a big Tabby cat named "Tapper" who could slide down the fire pole, and obligingly did so for LIFE's photographer. Tapper hated milk and ate only Boston Cod. It was a cute photo... At the time, Roxbury was largely inhabited by African-Americans, sort of Boston's Harlem. All the firemen in the picture are Caucasian. But, it was a cute cat.

The extinction of the Whooping Cranes was in the news. A two page article on the marvelous birds provided a rare gimpse at the species that had dwindled to 29 specimens. LIFE's photographer Andreas Feninger spent three days inside a blind shaped like a cow to get the pictures. The lovely whooping crane formed the basis for the novel Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, popular in the 1970s. The species is endangered but has not yet become extinct.

LIFE Goes to a Party

A regular feature was photo coverage of a celebrity party. This week, LIFE went to the wedding of Daphne Delores Mercedes Skouras and Oren Root Jr. More than 1,500 people jammed the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer while 12 photographers used color (read "expensive") film to record the event. A special wedding march was composed by the bride's uncle and the Pope sent his blessing. At the banquet at the Hotel Pierre following the ceremony, 80 waiters served 580 bottles of champagne to 684 guests. It was quite an event.

The bride's father was Spyros Skouras who was the president of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation. The bridegroom organized the campaign for Wendell Willkie in 1940 and was the nephew of Senator and Nobel Laureate Elihu Root. The bride's father had emigrated from Greece and the groom's ancestors came over on the Mayflower. The wedding was news because it celebrated the American Dream. Well, the Dream was celebrated up to a point -- if you are an immensely rich and powerful immigrant, some doors will open up for you...

Why was a wedding (...albeit, an elaborate expensive wedding...) news?
Why is this article here?

Skouras' origins are in Greek slums, a survival ethic that gave him an edge in dealing with exhibitors and producers. He came to New York, couldn't get work, and stole a train ride to St. Louis before he was kicked off. Luck seems to have played high in Skouras the legend how he heard of a waiting job in the Jefferson Hotel, how he met some investors at Greek Orthodox Church and thereby got into the Nickelodeon business, how he rode the new medium of film into profits, largely through an uncanny knack for self-promotion. Skouras' success in theaters brought him to the attention of producer William Fox, with whom he quickly rose through the ranks until, by 1943 (or 1942 sources vary) he became president of Fox. He immediately wanted to get Wendell Willkie as Fox chairman to take pressure off of Joe Schenck. In a surprise coup, the board decided to make Willkie the Fox president and push Skouras aside they feared his accent would be bad for business. The coup failed and Skouras survived until 1962, during which time he was responsible for exploiting both CinemaScope and Marilyn Monroe.

Along with other movie moguls like Lous B. Mayer and media tycoons like Henry Luce, Skouras was one of the cabal who created the anti-communist blacklist -- that was widely used to break the back of the Hollywood unions. Now go back to see if the story about Jackie the Lion (above) is funny or an allegory of things to come...

This week marked a declaration of war against the left.

P.S: The bride's sister, Dionysia ("Chickie") Skouras caught the bouquet.

Art

A 3-page article profiled the work of photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the 20th century's leading artists with a camera. His work captures the essence of the individual, whether it is a lonely man out for a stroll in the fog, a collaborator on trial, or two Mexican prostitutes. His work was always outstanding. Click Here for a marvelous slide show of Cartier-Bresson's portrait photography. You will not regret spending the time!

Medicine

In what was probably the abolute lowest point in LIFE's shabby history, the magazine ran a six page article on prefrontal lobotomy the newest rage in Psychiatry. This abolutely and totally wothless teratment was created right here in Washington, DC at George Washington University. When I was a graduate student in Psychology in 1965, this particular article was required reading --- of exactly how WRONG medical "science" can be.

What's the fuss?

Certain patients with long-term mental disorders can be unruly, suicidal, and downright hard to manage. Over the years, it had been noted that people with damage to the prefrontal cortex of the brain (right behind your forehead) had an unusual sense of peace and calm. Many of these folks had been wounded in battle, or were the victim of explosions. A psychiatrist in Portugal (now there's a hotbed of science!) found that if he created his own brain damage in "hopeless" patients (by actually sticking a scalpel into the brain!), he could make them "tractable." Well, "tractable" was certainly desirable in the days of very very big mental asylums. LIFE noted that prefrontal lobotomy was in the "experimental" stage, although 2000 such operations had been performed in the US alone. They did NOT say how many had been performed in the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany...

The article presented a Freudian view of the causes of psychosis, as illustrated (and anthropomorphized by the famed artists Boris Artzybashef, of whom we have spoken before). The surgeon's knife is supposed to relieve conflict between the id, ego and superego. This was all well and good, but lobotomy was mostly used to quiet patients down and in the case of women, to eliminate promiscuity. It is well-known that the Kennedys had their retarded daughter lobotomized for this reason.

To add insult to injury, the next four pages actually show a lobotomy in progress, in gory detail as the "psychosurgeon" (quack! quack!) kills off the prefrontal lobe by rotating a dull scalpel in a 30 degree arc.

All of this was TOTAL BULLS**T. It had been completely repudiated by science within 25 years. However, during that period lobotomy was though to be acure for a lot of what ailed society, including political dissent. It is odd that the red-baiting issue of LIFE also touts the benefits of lobotomy

Nightlife

LIFE toured the nightclubs of Miami Beach. In the 1940s, showgirls and entertainers would leave New York for a 10 week winter stint in Sunny Florida at nightclubs with names similar to those in the Big Apple. LIFE reported that the shows are "somewhat nuder and ruder than those on Broadway". However, like everything in the postwar economy, there was a recession in Miami Beach nightlife; business fell off 25% and even back-room gambling slumped noticeably. Playboys who uset to spend $1,500 in a night became scarcer and scarcer. One wag quipped that the girls were so desperate that they would take a man who was down to his last yacht... The article was filled with some wonderful pictures of showgirls in bathing suits and underwear. Cheescake galore...

Film

A short called Radio, Take It Away spoofed the current trends in radio which included loud, pushy commercials, "man-in-the-Street" interviews, and quiz shows that humiliate contestants. In the film, a husband and wife are guests on a show called Beat Your Brains Out. The husband has to answer a question while the wife is bound, gagged, wrapped in a sack and tossed into a washing maching. The prize (a washing machine) is won after the husband decides that "dandelion" begins with a "d". While carrying their prize home, the wife is hit by a car. An ambulance comes along, but the attendant turns out to be the announcer for another radio show called It Could Be Worse... It was a spoof...

There was also a three page pictorial on the Macomber Affair (watch for the full page ad...) that was based on Ernest hemingway's short story, The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber, a violent tale of big game hunting in Africa. There is a triangle between a wife, her cowardly husband and the White Hunter. Wife shoots husband and takes up with B'wana. Joan Bennett plays Wife, Robert Preston (of The Music Man) plays Macomber, the husband and Gregory Peck plays Wilson, the White Hunter.

Ads for the following films were run:

  • There was a full page ad for the western "Trail Street" featuring Randolph Scott as Bat Masterson the legendary lawman, gambler and gunfighter. (Here is a guide to all the "Bat Masterson" TV shows plus the lyrics to the show's theme song)
  • There was a full page ad for the film "The Red House" starring Edward G. Robinson and Julie London. You will remember that Ms. London had been the subject of a 3 page profile in last week's issue.

Lest you forget, here is another picture of Julie London:

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Julie London in 1947
One of the original "Sweater Girls"

The Ads

The inside front cover was a full page ad for a Kelvinator freezer (so named after Lord Kelvin who formulated much of the science of thermodynamics.) This week, the ad featured a freezer chest. The Wife had an armload of frozen food while the Husband (dressed in a plaid hunting shirt) was about to stuff aw hole mallard (with feathers...) into the thing. The Freezer Chest was a big household item during the 1940s because they would save on trips to the grocery and allow foods to be kept "out of season". This was an upscale product -- the frozen food business was small because most refrigerators had only a small freezer compartment.

The Bell System had an interesting ad that answered the question "How much does the Telephone Company Earn?" Their vehicle was a cartoon character who was an anthropomorphized obsolete Model 200 (with no dial yet!) who wore striped pants. Perhaps he symbolized age and respectability... Earnings on invested capital were listed as 5.5%, which was true -- they were regulated at that level! The Telephone company used innumerable scams to rip off the public (see our Telephone Page, but this ad hinted that they were not making enough money to assure "reliable telephone service." HAH!

The Book-of-the-Month Club was pushing "All the Comedies and Tragedies of Shakespeare" in four volumes, yet another tasteful addition required for the complete home library. This week, several books were being offered that turned out to be classics, including: Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream Home,The Egg and I, and All the King's Men. Frances Perkins, FDR's Secretary of Labor wrote another in what seemed to be an unending stream of books with the theme "Now that FDR is deal, it can safely be said that I really saved the country." Her book is called The Roosevelt I Knew

While I was researching the implications of Robert Penn Warren's masterpiece All the King's Men, since this book is widely used as assigned reading in the schools of 2004. I came upon an unusual and unsavory use of the internet. I found at least 10 sites offering bogus book reports and term papers on this book! This is an exciting book and is not the least bit pedagogic! It was a runaway best seller (and film) because it has action, sex, and intrigue! (It deals with the career of a ruthless populist politician who resembles Louisiana demagogue Huey Long. I cannot envision why contemporary students wouldn't want to read this book! It clearly must have something to do with Monosodium Glutamate in baby food, my catchall cause for chubby little Gen-X wimps with a 2 second attention span (see point #3 before you write an angry letter).

Record Ads: RCA Victor records had a full-page ad for classical music featuring the Irish tenor James Melton (singing "Mother Machree"), Artur Rubenstein playing Chopin's second Piano Concerto and Leopold Stokowski conducting the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. At one time, there was a mass audience for high culture!

Speed it up! Sal Hepatica suggested that you should "Get rid of Intestinal Sluggishness fast...when you have a cold." Once again, the Sunkist citrus grower's cooperative ran an ad that touted the juice of one lemon in a glass of water as a laxative. This tempts me toask once again, "Isn't that lemonade?"

Get the Girl Ads: Vitalis hair tonic provided a "60 Second Workout" for your hair. A young executive was portrayed speaking on the telephone while a rather fetching file clerk of the opposite sex gives him the once-over.

Ladies in Undergarments: Mojud Stockings had yet another "Glamour Legs" ad, see the February 17 issue for an example. Cluett, Peabody & Co ran an ad for their "Sanforized" shrink-resistant cotton that showed a group of ladies whose cotton dresses had shrunk to rhe point of embarassing revelations.

Pictures of Babies: This week was a bonanza for babies. Ansco Film showed a darling photo of of a youngster and reminded you that he will be like this "Only Once -- in his whole lifetime!" As if parents didn't need incentives to take pictures of their babies... Campbell's Soup had a picture of a darling tyke in an ad for their baby soups. That "Liver Soup" was still there... The Thayer company ran an ad for baby carriages featuring a "Lovely mother, lovely baby and a lovely carriage", and indeed these looked like the Ferrari of baby carraiges with "Feather-touch 3-position back rest,bicycle wheels, semipneumatic tires, self-oiling squak-proof bearings, safety brakes and adjustable aluminum push handles." Heck, you could take this thing out at Indianapolis if you wanted!

Who was Endorsing Pens? Tommy Dorsey was endorsing the Stratford regency pen as a "dependable Performer." This pen was only a dollar and is at the bottom of the "personal gadget" status heap.

Letters to the Editor

Stefan Lorant's homage to Abraham Lincoln in the February 10 issue drew several interesting letters. The first was from Robert Gaines, an actor who had portrayed Lincoln in a Broadway play. He observed that in order to emulate the drape and flow of Lincoln's clothes, he had to use nothing but the finest materials. In fact Lincoln may have been something of a clothes horse, because Lorant found that he had spent $60 on a suit in 1840. LIFE onoted that the suit would have cost $200 in 1947, and using our inflation correction, it might approach $4,000 in 2004. Gaines says "Lincoln may not have been the Adolph Menjou of his time, but he knew good material -- whether he was selecting men, laws, principles, or cloth" (Adolph Menjou was an actor known for portraying well-dressed but shallow characters; he was also one of the dirty rats who testified at the red-baiting hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee, see the editorial above). Another article took issue with Lincoln's purported ability to lift 400 pounds; LIFE did a test and found that most commercial piano movers were capable of this feat.

The February 10 article on the occupation of Germany brought a number of thoughtful letters. Some folks were still quite bitter about the war and wondered why we were spending so much time and money rebuilding Germany when allied countries could have used a hand. Another far-sighted reader (Mr. Stewart Craig of Winthrop, Mass.) suggested that trade barriers were at the heart of the war and that a unified Europe would be the best assurance of peace. Of all the things that were said during this critical time, Mr. Craig's letter is the closest to predicting what actually happened. I wish that I knew more about this far-sighted individual!

The Back Cover

The Back cover was an "A.B.C. Chesterfield ad this time featuring a statistic that this brand had been voted "tops" in a nationwide survey of colleges. The ad showed an appropriate College Student dressed in a herringbone tweed sports jacket and a sweater vest. He was carrying two books and two packs of Chesterfields.

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